Monday, May 19, 2014

That time I was a tomato.......

Hey, everybody! It has been another beautiful week here in Stockholm. Spring is finally here (yay), and the sun finally broke through so it was warm enough that we went without jackets or sweaters or tights for the first time in I-don't-want-to-think-how-long. On Saturday, it broke a glorious 20 degrees C and loved getting to be in the sun for a lot of the day- although my legs and arms decided to rebel against me afterwards and are still cherry red three days later. Don't listen to those people who say that the sun is weaker in Sweden, because they're all vicious liars who want you to get skin cancer. For now, I'm enjoying being a tomato and showing the world my beautiful stripe of white on one side of my leg and flaming red on the other. It's pretty fantastic.

But, sunburn aside, this week was actually pretty great. We were able to get in some pretty amazing lessons this week. I really feel as though we had some lessons this week that, even though we were the ones teaching, I was the one who got taught the most, just listening to people share their stories about missions, family, and their own struggles in everything they do. It really is amazing how built up I've felt this week. I love the members here in Gubbängen (even if they're a little crazy sometimes), and I'm so grateful that they're willing to take us into their homes so often.

Speaking of crazies, I legitimately went to the crazy house this week. Relax, not for me! We got a referral saying some woman wanted the sister missionaries to come pray for her along with some visiting hours. We thought it was a little weird, especially since we had no idea if the woman was a  member or investigator or whatever, but we went in any case. It wasn't until we got to the door and it said 'psykiatrik' that we started to get a little more worried. We went up to the front desk and they referred us to this reinforced glass door at the end of the hall. They told us to push the button to ring the nurse. Following instructions like obedient sister missionaries, we went and pushed the button, and watched the nurse go through a few locks to open the door and poke her head out of the narrow gap. We explained the situation and she told us to wait for a second to go talk to the lady and ask if she was expecting visitors. She came back about five minutes later and pulled us through the door, explaining we were only allowed to go straight to this woman's room and back and that we were absolutely not to go wandering around the halls ( do not wander the third floor corridor unless you want to experience a most horrible death in other words). So, we followed the woman back to her room (we figured it out she wasn't a member pretty quickly when she offered us tea and coffee) and sat down to talk about why she'd called us. And at first she seemed pretty normal. Then she started talking about how she got in the hospital, and now they wouldn't let her leave because she was such a good friend with everybody and made them feel better, and how they were doing electro-shock treatments on the side. And how Jesus was already in Sweden (she loves the gospel and was more than willing to listen to any thing we had to say about that), and about how she died and met not God, not Christ, but Princess Diana. She then lied down on the bed and told us to pray over her- I think she was thinking it would be something like a blessing. In any case, we said a prayer for her and her family, and then left.  And honestly, she was a very sweet woman, and has a very strong faith, she's just more than a little crazy is all. We left, and I'm sorry to say, I was laughing  hysterically to realize this is my life, chilling with crazies and immigrants in Stockholm. It is so much fun, and it is so crazy. 

We also were able to get in some sweet lessons this week. The one that really sticks out in my mind is the lesson we had with our investigator Godwin. We brought along a member named Deo, and it was amazing to hear his own conversion story of how he found the gospel and how it changed his life. We then went into the Word of Wisdom and explained it to him, and he put it out there he'd decided to stop smoking that very morning. We don't believe in coincidences out here; that would be called preparation and guidance. Seriously, I can't describe the spirit that was in that room, but it really was amazing to see how the gospel has impacted these two men so much and how it continues to impact them. 

And I do love the gospel so much. One of the things that I've been focusing my personal studies on a lot this month is charity and love (Preach My Gospel ch 6! Gotta love it!), and the more I study it, the more I realize that I'm out here on a mission to love people- and truthfully, that's all we need to do in all our lives. Moroni 7:46-47 says ' 46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all.... ' It's something that I'm more and more appreciative of: that it doesn't matter how you're different, it matters how you're alike. And we are all alike in that we are Children of God. It doesn't matter what decisions we have or haven't made in life or what our knowledge of the gospel is or was or will be; what matters is that we are all here because we are God's children and that He loves us more than we can begin to comprehend. Each and every person we meet has something of value inside of them- even if we can't necessarily see it in them. Christ's atonement was for us all, but if there had been just one person to save, it still would have happened, and it would have been no less beautiful and necessary. I'm reminded of a primary song that we always used to sing at my house that goes something like this: Jesus said love everyone, treat them kindly too! When your heart is filled with love, others will love you.' Maybe sometimes it takes a while, but I can honestly say that I couldn't do missionary work if I didn't have a love for the people around me, because 'perfect love casteth out all fear.'

Puss och Kram,
Syster Maxwell

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